Think a Midterm Election is worth going to the polls for? Thomas Jefferson thought it important that citizens participate in their government. Back in 1821 he wrote, “The Legislative and Executive branches may sometimes err, but elections and dependence will bring them to rights.” But that was 189 years ago. The population of the United States was 3 percent of today’s; wasn’t a vote worth 97 percent more then than now?

Seven states have primary elections today.

Do you think that when it comes to state, national and international issues—immigration, recession, health care, same-sex marriage, abortion and the rest—that your vote matters?

Enough to get you into the voting booth November 2?

Resources:

  • Register to vote or find your polling place at CanIVote.org

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Yes, midterm elections matter. Voting in any election, or on any issue, matters. This video blog by David LaMotte expresses it much more eloquently than could I. Please watch!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=REfbYM0ydw4&feature=player_embedded

 
 

I agree that a vote now isn't as important as a vote in 1821. But if every one thinks like this, then, only a few people will vote. So, the results won't reflect what the population wants. Eventually, we have to vote for the candidate we choose and maybe he will be elected because of our vote.

There are still some countries that don't have the right to vote. I think we have the duty to take part in the elections, because we have the chance to have the right to vote.

 
 

I think it is important for the citizens to express themselves by voting, even if with the growing population it is becoming more and more difficult to find a representative that satisfies the different categories of the population.Each candiates has its advantages and inconvenient, the perfect representative doesn't exist and will always be critized by a part of the population. The election makes him legitimate and is a way for citizens to express themselves so think it should be kept.

 
 

I think it is very important for citizens to express themselves by voting, but with the growing population it is becoming more and more difficult to find a government that satisfies the different social classes.Every candidates has its advantages and inconvenients ; so the governement will always be critized .

 
 

Anonymous---Please clarify, are you suggesting that wanting lower taxes, reduced spending, and a smaller government is radical? If this is the case, I am surprised that you would use this forum to make your argument. This forum is on “The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation” website that embodies the founding of this nation and promotes a set of ideals that were set forth in three documents; The United States Constitution, The Declaration of Independence, and The Bill of Rights. Their mission statement reads, “That the future may learn from the past” Thanks. Steve

 
 

Thank goodness for some of our most famous "radical thinkers", let's see: Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry, George Washington, Abe Lincoln, Martin Luther King, just to name a few. Radical thoughts keep all of us on our toes and looking for a better way. Nothing requires you to agree, just to come up with a better plan.

 
 

Steve,

Neither the Declaration, nor the Constitution, nor the Bill of Rights says anything about lower taxes, reduced spending, or smaller government. Nevertheless, I agree that we are required to tolerate the caterwauling of extreme right wingers like the Tea Party people, and are obligated to do as much as may be done to put paid to their to their political account and to defeat their pernicious aims.

 
 

Anonymous---Technically, you are correct; however, the spirit of these documents goes directly to these very issues. What is your understanding of why the revolution took place?

In addition, please make your argument on why the people that make up the Tea Party are “radical” or “extreme right-wingers.” What is your understanding of what the Tea Party represents and what are their beliefs? Do you agree or disagree with their position? Thanks. Steve

PS---It would be appropriate to have an honest debate on the issues. We can disagree on the issues; however, there is no need to denigrate or attack a group of people by labeling them.

 
 

Steve, Thank you for your comment. We remind participants to review the site's Rules of Engagement to keep the conversation productive.

 
 

Dear Anonymous (Anti-Tea Party Person),

His question was how is asking for reduced spending, lower taxes and smaller government radical, not where are those statements in the Constitution or Bill of Rights.

 
 

Every vote counts, whether it is 1821 or 2010. The growth in size of each congressional district has had an impact, but just as important is the level of participation by the eligible and registered voters.

The framers also had in mind that the voter would be educated as to who they were electing to represent them. Today, large percentages of voters don't know anything other than party affiliation. To me that is certainly more dangerous than "small, issue driven" groups that one person commented about. While a small group can have an impact on an election. A large group voting based on one criteria (i.e. party affiliation) will have a much bigger impact. This is called "mob rule". Which is more "dangerous"?

I think it disingenuous to label the "Tea Party" participants as radicals, when they are exercising the very freedoms that the Founders fought for. Certainly in the eyes of the British, the Founders were "radicals".

Washington said it best when he warned us against creating political parties. The intent is that every vote counts, but with that right comes responsibility to be an educated voter.

 
 

Well, actually, if the population then was only 3% of what it is now, then the old vote was 3333% more powerful, not 97%. That aside, it is still very important to vote although the impact of your vote calculated in that fashion is miniscule. I do believe that those who think that folks who agree with "Tea Party" positions are extreme and dangerous are themselves extreme and dangerous. Any opinion of the proper functions of government that do not advocate either violent overthrow or non-constitutional powers for government are valid and discussable.

 
 

My hot button issue in 2010 is the gay rights movement. I won't vote for any candidate who supports the legalization of gay marriages or who votes to remove the "don't ask, don't tell" military policy.

I know my beliefs are opposed by many law makers and voters but it is a personal belief and one that I won't change. I am gratified that I live in a country where I can express my views freely. Thank you.

 
 

More to the point than a comparison of national populations in 1821 and now, is a comparison of Congressional District populations. The original 30,000 people per district has grown to more than 636,000. Put another way, it takes the votes of more than 21 people now to equal the vote of one person then.

To make up for that dilution of the peoples' voice, it is probably more important than ever that everyone goes to the polls who possibly can to safeguard against the government being captured by small, extreme, issue-driven and dangerous groups of activists such as the Tea Party radicals.

 
 

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